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A Muslim in Japan

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Islam and Muslim integration have gained a significant place in the public debate in the West. The presence of these terms in Western political discourse seems to contrast with the absence of information about the situation in other parts of the world. Yet, as show the Japanese, ways of looking at and ... Read More »

Turkey is, but are the Turkish ready for peace?

“Watch out for Kurds, they bad. They steal you. Me no like Kurds.” The trucker that gave me a ride is telling me this with an expression of disgust on his face. “They different, bad people.” The unilateral ceasefire declared by the PKK last Saturday is a step in the right direction and gives the impression that after 30 years ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: TURKEY 2

A common expression in Turkey is ‘smoke like a Turk’, since cigarettes are abundantly present in Ankara. Actually, I still need to meet the first Turkish man who is not smoking. An additional expression  linked to Turkey can be introduced: demonstrate like a Turk. In the first couple of weeks I was surprised by the number of people discussing politics. ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: TURKEY

Imagine a regular week day in a city where the majority of the almost 5 million inhabitants needs to travel to their work. I can summarize it in one word: chaos. But would it not be more interesting to learn about the Turkish approach to this fact of life? I hereby present you the five main rules a Foreign Student ... Read More »

Pollution in space

A few days ago, a report came out that the debris (= wreckage) from China’s Fengyun 1C meteorological satellite – which was deliberately destroyed in an anti-satellite weapons test in 2007 – may have hit and severely damaged a Russian spacecraft on January 22, 2013. This Russian nano-satellite was launched in 2009 and was expected to last five years in ... Read More »

Houses for Sugar: Trade in Cambodia

The “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement of the European Union was once meant as a gesture of assistance. It eliminated the custom duties on all products imported from the world’s 48 poorest countries, arms excepted. Cambodian sugar has undoubtedly benefited from the programme:  since 2006 the exports in this sector have substantially increased. Yet, territorial conflicts linked to the expansion ... Read More »

Mine Blowing Art

“Landmines are among the most barbaric weapons of war, because they continue to kill and maim innocent people long after the war itself has ended. Also, fear of them keeps people off the land, and thus prevents them from growing food.” – Kofi Annan. It is estimated that there are still about 30 million undetonated landmines buried in Afghanistan, waiting ... Read More »

Philippine Overseas Labour Office

The great volume of labour exported by The Philippines is sometimes referred to as ‘modern-day slave trade’. Over one-fifth of the Filipino working-age population are migrant workers in other countries. The case of the Middle-East best illustrates this spider’s web of unfree labour. The huge Philippine labour export has not only been pushed by a major shortage of jobs at home, ... Read More »

Queen Beatrix and the Singaporean Masterpiece

It does not happen very often, but in a few days the Dutch Queen Beatrix will visit a country that is smaller than her own. Singapore: the city state that surprised the world with rapid economic growth and chewing-gum free streets. The Dutch can learn a lot from it. Yet, a short ride with the MRT subway would provide the ... Read More »

Christmas in China: from holy day to holiday

Giant Christmas trees, jingle bells playing in every store and children running around to see a glimpse of Santa Claus. Walking through any commercial district in China’s larger cities you can impossibly deny it: Christmas has conquered the People’s Republic of China. Commercial circus or religious influence? It used to be only a small Christian minority that silently celebrated the ... Read More »